Ok, Kymberlee. I’m doing this so you won’t turn your back on me in mock disgust when I see you next.
You’re right. I’ve got to write.
So, since someone on Twitter got me talking about gambling and baby things, I’ll write about that. Here you go.
My mother was 27 when I was born. My father, 48. When her contractions were five minutes apart, he drove her to the hospital, helped her check in and waited to hear the results…both mother and baby ok? Boy or girl?
She’d managed to get into an OB’s practice who prided himself on the fact that his mothers were skinnier after giving birth than before they got pregnant. His secret? Amphetamines. Lots of of very strong amphetamines. And even though my mother flushed hers down the toilet in the 7th month, according to her, she did, indeed, weigh less after I was born than before she conceived me. I was her first child.
I don’t know how they paid for the hospital bill or the OB care. I guess they spent every last dime that they didn’t have because one of her fondest stories was of our homecoming from the hospital.
“And here I was, holding you in my arms on the drive home and thinking, ‘We don’t even have any diapers, or bottles or a crib, and then we got home and opened the door and the first thing we saw? A bassinet, a crib, diapers, blankets! Everything a new baby needed! There was even a Tiffany pearl and silver teething ring!'”
How? Well, right before they left for the hospital my father (not so successful at earning a living by gambling on horses) gave his friend Frank (much more successful at earning a living by gambling on horses) $50 from previous track winnings and, as the story goes, instructions to win enough money to buy baby things. And he did. Either that, or Frank went home and out of kindness for a child he owed nothing to and would only see a few times in his life, used his own gambling payday saving to buy baby things.
Though all the other baby things have long since found their way to the dump, I still have that teething ring. Right now, it’s tacked up to my vision board where I’ve got inspirational notes, lists of things that will come true for me and my family, various pictures and a doctored cover of Vanity Fair. I’ve pasted my face and Michael’s face over Prince William and Catherine Middleton. It’s the issue published right after they got married. (Also doctored…) The headline reads, “Michael & Julia’s New Life”.
I mean, hell. With all the moving and the running and hiding and the escaping I’ve done in my life, to still have that pearl and silver teething ring, bought, no less, with gambling winnings–either my father’s or Frank’s–why the hell shouldn’t I bet that good things…the best things…are waiting for me, just inside through the door.
So tonight, even though I’m bone tired and a feeling like my “Life is Great” train car is stuck a bit on the rails, I’m writing this. For Kymberlee, Frank and me.